The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday issued
notices to Hamza Shehbaz and other respondents, seeking their reply over PTI
and PMLQ’s pleas challenging Hamza’s election as the Punjab chief minister.

A bench, headed by LHC Chief Justice Ameer
Bhatti, conducted the hearing on separate pleas — filed by PTI and PMLQ —
against Hamza Shehbaz’s election as the Punjab chief minister. During the
hearing, PTI lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar and others appeared before the court.

Presenting his arguments, Barrister Zafar maintained that election
for the Punjab CM was held on April 16 as per the court’s directives and Hamza
took oath as the CM. However, the Supreme Court ruled, while giving
interpretation on Article 63(A) of the Constitution, dissidents’ votes cannot
be counted, he added.

Justice Bhatti inquired from when the apex court’s ruling will be
applicable. “It has to be seen if the actions that have been taken before the
SC’s ruling can be nullified or not,” the judge remarked.

The court accepted the pleas for hearing and issued notices to the
parties — seeking their reply — for May 25. PTI’s MPAs, including Sibtain Khan,
maintained in the plea that the police forced the PTI and PMLQ out of the
Punjab Assembly to prevent them from exercising their right to vote at the
behest of Hamza, followed by riots and chaos, after which Hamza was declared
the Punjab CM.

They also questioned the presence of cops inside the provincial
assembly. They said the secretary of the Assembly had prevented the entry of
non-members, but alleged that the deputy secretary had called 300 non-members
inside.

The petitioners alleged that bogus voting had been done in the
election, indicating that PTI MPA Ahsan Saleem Baryar did not cast his vote but
his name was on the voters list. They requested that the election of Hamza
Shahbaz as the Punjab chief minister be declared null and void.

Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who was
also a candidate for the CM’s slot, filed a separate plea challenging Hamza’s
election. The plea nominates Hamza and other individuals concerned as
respondents in the case.

Elahi has maintained that Hamza does not have the number of votes
required to be elected as the chief minister in light of the Supreme Court’s
order. In a 3:2 split decision, three judges of the apex court — Chief Justice
of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar —
agreed that dissident members’ votes should not be counted. But Justice Jamal Mandokhail
and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel disagreed with the verdict.

Elahi claimed that Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari declared
Hamza CM-elect unjustly. The plea requests the court to restrict Hamza from
working as the Punjab chief minister till a final decision in this case. It
also seeks cancellation of Hamza’s oath as the CM and orders for a new election
for the CM slot.

 

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2022-05-21

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